Recently I had the honour of presenting to the Professionals in Partnership and the title of the talk was ‘Creating an impactful prescription for a Healthy Business Lifestyle’.
I endeavoured to bring the merging of two concepts to the table. The idea of inner balance in a real life, and also the use of evidenced-based lifestyle changes that can improve our health and wellness and increase our health span.
I met some inspiring people and listened to contrasting presentations on the reality of the present economy and also how to build a community where wellbeing is central, the so called ‘15 minute city’ where, and I quote ”The idea is to create neighbourhoods where every resident’s essential needs are easily within reach in 15 minutes by bike or walking”.
Both talks sat well between my offering that was all about empowering the potential health of every individual in the room.
The emphasis of my talk was impact, and how to improve our health positively in a sustainable way that not only lasts for a month or so but for life. The outcome would be a set of modifiable changes in the main areas of lifestyle: physical activity, sleep, stress reduction, connection, and reduction of harm.
‘Lifestyle’ is all about how you, me, all of us, style our lives and pretty much a lot of this style is impacted on how we respond to our lives as they are right now, and this is response is fully down to us.
We can’t choose what life throws at us, but we can choose how we respond and in doing so how we style our lives in this reality.
The most common pitfall in many health-related endeavours is that the long-term impact is limited as the person gets derailed by life and stops the well-intended exercise regime or healthy eating programme.
I believe that in order to get around this, and to create real and meaningful impact for us all, we need to dovetail evidenced based interventions into our lifestyle with purpose and meaning and then for this to become woven into our identity.
Going further upstream is vital. We so often launch into a diet or exercise regime without taking time to assess what it is about it we really want. Our ‘why’.
What about this activity/behaviour/habit creates meaning for us? And why?
Once we can tap into this ‘why’ of the activity then this can become impactful and long lasting.
Here is Ron’s impactful journey
I’ll give you an example.
Ron age 56 wants to lose weight. He is overweight and his GP has told him numerous times that he is at risk of diabetes because of this. He has been told he may need medicine.
He has numerous attempts each new year to “do it this time!” but each summer he is back where he started or even heavier. Its demoralising and confusing. He knows it makes sense.
He is making the changes to his diet but it’s not working.
After hearing more about the impact lifestyle choices can make, he begins the process of looking upstream and taking into account the whole of his life.
He has a stressful job and family with young children he loves dearly. He isn’t sleeping as well as he’d like, and he knows he could move more. He has lost contact with some old friends over the pandemic and can’t remember the last belly laugh with his best friend Tom.
With some help and time to think he begins to pull this all together. He begins to develop his why. The purpose behind the changes he seeks.
On a reassessment of his life wheel, he decides that the arena of friends and family is where he wishes to focus. He contacts Tom to arrange a walk and pub lunch.
He puts aside 15 mins each day to walk and talk with his wife before sitting down to work at the computer instead of sitting longer watching the news.
He also begins the process of think about purpose and what it is about the weight loss that matters to him and builds a vision of a life where being lighter is a reality. He decides it not about being a certain shape but instead it’s about feeling strong and full of energy so he can take part in a few minutes of football practice in the garden with his son and not feel short of breath. He wants to live longer better healthier life.
His sleep improves as he moves more.
As he moves more, he is motivated to eat better.
The spiral begins to move upwards.
The vision is now his own.
Little and significant small habit changes are beginning to make a difference. They are beginning to weave into the fabric of his life and become what he is and what he does each day. He feels good.
He is doing it all from an inner driver of meaning and purpose and not just about doing what he is told is good for him.
The purpose behind the change clarifies more as he does more.
He is beginning to use many of the “medicines” of lifestyle to improve his wellbeing.
Connection is the start as he builds on his relationships with friends and family, and this leads on to more activity with walking and then more at the weekend, sleep improves as he prioritises daytime activity outdoors, stress reduces because of talking more to his family and friends on the walks, better diet happens as a result of less stress and generally finding more purpose, joy and connection. He learns more and takes on more in the pockets of time he has with his commitments.
It’s all interrelated as part of his life.
Small steps. Purpose led. Doable and impactful
That’s how the process of using lifestyle as medicine can work when we harness the evidenced based changes in an individual way.
Impact doesn’t need to be fast and loud. It can be done and is easier to maintain with smaller and meaningful changes that we design and keep accountable to. It can be in the small slight edge steps, easy to do and easy not to do.
Doing them is possible when we make it what we do and what we are.
If you are feeling low in energy or mood, my blog about how to increase your energy levels would be a great place to start to make some changes.
Tips to make this impactful and real for you in your own health, well-being and lifestyle
- Decide what it is you wish to focus on
- Is it weight loss?
- Is it energy management?
- Is it stress reduction?
- Ask “what about this make it important for me?” What’s my ‘Why’ for me?
- Think about the main sectors of your life and where you can start. Where is it that you feel most out of balance or where do you think the most impact if things improved, could be realised?
- Are you using the medicines of lifestyle? Where are you with these right now? Could you do better at taking them? Where do you wish to start?
- Remember, doing our best is key here and it’s not all about not being our best.
- Begin with the smallest habit change you can 100% succeed in. Plan it in.
- Build on this as a lifestyle identity.
- Impact is made in small and intentional steps.
If all this seems like a large mountain to climb alone, please reach out to me. As a coach, I help people address all these issues and create the changes they seek in life. I’d love to work with you.
That’s all from me this week.
Bye for now.
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